Hello, David from affordable staff and we have?
And we also have,
Simone, from Blackbird and Finch.
Thank you. So um thank you very much for being here with us today to have a bit of a conversation about your outsourcing experience so you’ve been a client now for about 12 months. I was about to say 12 years.
And um and we’re just going to ask you a few questions so we can get a better understanding of how you’ve found your experience obviously with us but in general with the whole process so anybody who may be looking at outsourcing with another provider for example that you know any hints and tips so you can give them any advice so how does that sound?
Can you tell us why you decided to outsource?
So can you tell us why you decided to outsource?
Our business had grown, I think at that stage we started in 2017,
Yes so we were a year in still coping okay and then it got to the two-year mark and we were feeling it the administration was bogging us down and stopping us being able to meet with clients at properties show properties be on the phone that sort of stuff so we really needed that administration help.
Did you consider local or offshore VAs?
And then you considered what local as well as offshore or VA’s?
Oh no, I think we just went straight to VA,
Yeah we wanted to yeah we just couldn’t grow any more and we felt that our customer service was probably slipping a little bit um just because we were so bogged down with the paperwork and the compliance and getting you know entry notices out and leases and all that sort of thing so we just wanted to sort of free us up to do the things that we love doing, um and probably get rid of some of the things that we didn’t enjoy quite so much.
Was it an easy decision just to go straight to VAs?
Was it an easy decision just to go straight to VA’s? or was it like something that you’re–
No, I actually kind of struggled with it a little bit I suppose this was our first business and I’m all for employing people and having people on the ground and supporting Australians and I think I kind of struggled a little bit with that because you kind of felt oh you’re giving another country a job but after talking to a few people and travelling ourselves Bali, Thailand you know those sort of things you realize that it’s a little bit um closed mind thinking if you think that way you’re actually helping people in these countries and develop their own skills and improve their own life by outsourcing so that was easy once we decided that.
Has it helped your grow?
Has it helped you grow?
Yes, yeah we’ve probably added on an extra 100 properties I think um since we’ve taken on Joyce um so yeah and and still growing um and consequently now looking at getting a second VA.
Why did you choose us?
So why did you choose us?
So we did do a lot of research and spoke to a lot of companies and Affordablestaff had a good plan in place yes so being a property manager, I like a good process.
I like to know step one, step two step three and what time frame that’s going to happen.
And affordable staff had all of that covered and the response was really quick. when you choose a VA and decide that you’re going to get a VA you want to start fairly quickly so and Affordablestaff were fantastic and getting back to me really quickly.
How did you find the implementation of a VA especially from a process perspective?
So processes, so you mentioned you’re a very process driven person so how did how did you find the implementation of a VA especially from a process perspective. Fantastic
Now I was initially apprehensive when we first wanted a VA I assumed that a VA would be completely trained in property me or whatever uh software we were using and that they would come in and and take it over like a property manager or someone.
Like hiring a property manager?
Exactly, um and when I was told owner you need to just go through each process I was thinking oh that’s going to be a lot of time but honestly it was it wasn’t a lot of time and it taught our VA exactly the processes that we do. there are certain steps in each real estate that everyone does a little bit differently there’s nuances and that everyone has um so I was teaching our VA how to do those steps um just in a simple zoom format, I would run through it all verbally talking she would record the hot the whole thing and then turn that into a procedure which was fantastic so and that was in trello wasn’t it in trello yeah so we kind of had our policies and procedures written for us as well as teaching a staff member who will now go on and teach the the next VA that we have.
Do you think things like COVID for the industry are assisting to move it forward?
Interestingly enough here we are what as I’m recording this video six months into COVID yeah where people uh prior to prior to COVID would talk to people and would say zoom and then say how do you spell that? and what is that?
And now um everybody knows what it is.
Yeah everyone knows everyone knows.
It’s really really common there yeah so yeah and especially with cloud solutions as well so it’s interesting watching the cloud solutions like Property Me.
I was talking to the guys at Property Me the other day and i was saying how they just things are going crazy for them so um do you, do you think that, and this is just a random question that we haven’t prompted do you think that things like things like COVID for the industry are assisting to move it forward
I know it’s a strange question because it has had an impact in a lot of ways technology-wise it definitely is yes um
You know people have had to adopt, you know doing uh virtual tours and and moving systems into the cloud so people can potentially work from home if they need to. We’d already made that decision so we were completely cloud-based before COVID came um it’s just the way that we went with all of our systems so for us it was just a matter of taking our phone and our laptop home and we could do that. And we were very lucky with with Joyce as well.
Are there any other areas of the business outsourcing have had an impact?
We touched briefly beforehand around the value that outsourcing was adding to your business and you mentioned that you’ve experienced an increase of about 100 properties are there any other areas of the business that you’ve found have had an impact
If I pre-face it so I’m aware of a number of clients that I’ve spoken to that pre-outsourcing that they were working like crazy hours it was really really stressful and they were just trying to get everything to line up have you found any of those changes happening for you as well?
Oh definitely, I was working a lot of nights as well and real estate you tend to work crazy hours anyway um but the administration was really bogging us both down really, you were talking to people on the phone constantly running between the inspections but then catching up on the paperwork at night time which was detrimental to both of us really yeah and for us because we’re the business owners and we’re the property managers you know we don’t have other stuff to to give it to you know we haven’t employed another property manager to do that so you know our phone’s always on.
What limitations have you found?
What limitations have you found? with Joyce and I suppose having someone that’s working remotely fully.
No really limitations.
What about the beginning did you experience limitations cause obviously like you said this is your first time and you have to go through that integration period?
I suppose we just had to make sure that we knew what we wanted the processes and procedures to be it was all in our head but it was matter of getting it out to teach somebody that was probably the biggest thing for us because we just knew how we did it but there was no other limitations really in terms of Joyce.
She was always available and she was so eager to learn and she’s just part of a team. When COVID stops we’d love to bring her out here for a couple of weeks so she could actually stay here and have a holiday in and work for a little bit with us and we always say everyone needs a Joyce in their lives, she’s just so amazing and that’s why we are getting another Joyce.
And just to expand on that as well. I like the fact that you used the word team and you said that she’s a part of your team and anybody that is watching this now that would be a piece of advice I would give as well is to be aware that person you’re working with is a human being and they are a part of your team and they end up becoming an important part of your team.
And then my person Karl, hey Karl. He’s gonna be editing and creating this. He is an essential part of everything that I do.
Oh God, we couldn’t survive without Joyce and we’re at the point now where Joyce works from 9 O’clock in the morning through 1 O’clock.
And come 12:30 we go, can we get can we get that lease done in time or you know, its like can it be tomorrow? cause that means we have to do it cause Joyce finishes up.
So yeah, We have team meetings each week it’ll either be myself and Joyce if we’re going through something but we’ll often Zoom from the office, then everyone pops in and says hi and things.
She’s definitely part of the team I suppose.
We send Christmas presents and you know, birthday presents and all that sort of stuff. You know she’s just seems to grow to our business.
You’re not, you’re quite typical as the same before. With a lot of clients in the last few weeks had a lot of people that I suppose are a little bit scared especially around, I want someone that already has two years worth of experience in real estate and I suppose that was a decision the way a while ago was we want to unlearn your bad habits and not bring another business bad habits that I know you’re apprehensive about that.
But how have you found that now? Now that you’ve sort of going through the experience and going well,
Joyce didn’t know anything me up yet.
Didn’t come with three full years of experience in real estate station is procedural.
As much as things change and different clients have different needs, that sort of thing that can all be documented which means that can all be trained.
I think having Joyce, as long as I have the basic knowledge of Trello, Word, Adobe, you know all those basic computer skills.
Everything else can be taught and shown and the best because it’s a recording in a webinar and Zoom that they can then keep going back to. Absolutely.
It’s the only way that I would train people now. If I went back and train an entirely new team or something for another company, I would still do it that way.
If another business owner is out there looking at outsourcing what advice would you have?
I suppose I was going to as advice if another business owner out there looking at outsourcing, what advice would you have for them, what mistakes have you that you with with the second person into your team? Any suggestions?
I think keep up with the regular Zoom, they are good to start with at least every day or the second day and slowly back but keep up with the regular zoom cause you’ll still develop that rapport with them and definitely get them involved in the whole team atmosphere instead like they are a personal assistant and never to be seen. I wouldn’t do that.
What if there’s anybody out there at the moment that are thinking about weighing out their options thinking, Okay, I’m getting into that size I’m at the crossroads and I need to decide am I going to look at outsourcing. What did you do beforehand to do that research if you could offer any advice to anyone?
Some of it came down to money obviously as well, Affordablestaff for a reason, It’s a great name. the cost of employing somebody here in Australia it’s double rather than having a VA. And we did have an assistant there for a little while but it just wasn’t working out so we did go down that path to start off with. But yeah, it’s one of the best decisions we made to sort of go down that path, I don’t regret it and I don’t think we changed too much I suppose we just have pre-conceived idea to start off with which is everybody does, and luckily you steered us on the right direction. You don’t need somebody who’s fully trained, do it from scratch and do it right.
Just to touch on that before you finish up, what you’re saying about the person, we’ve considered to be an employer of choice on our office in the Philippines which is really cool. One of the reasons why is when we are looking at bringing a person on board we’ve had a very strong focus on their mindset as well as their personality profile so we go through, we match the personality profile. So for example a property manager likes attention to details and systematic so they can handle systematic, etc. There’s a strong focus on that. So that also is an important factor and the reason I’m mentioning it is anyone who’s watching this video now to make sure that you’re looking at that with any company that you’re using to make sure that that’s an area that they focus on as well.
Thank you very much for sitting down and running a little case study for us today, we really appreciate you being clients and you know, if we have more clients like you guys , we’ll continue to be happy men like we are and the rest of the team so thanks again and look forward to hearing your journey as we move forward.